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Blackhawks looking to get more out of Bickell

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- A season after making himself a big factor in the Chicago Blackhawks winning the 2013 Stanley Cup and earning a sizable new contract, Bryan Bickell is now searching for that magic.

Instead of causing havoc for opposing goalies and defensemen, the 6-foot-4, 233-pound forward is spending more time sitting on the bench of late, coming to a head this past Sunday when he watched the third period and overtime of a 3-2 shootout loss against the San Jose Sharks.

"Well, it's not good," Bickell said of logging just 5:20 and nine shifts. "You want to be out there to help your team win, especially last game in a close game, to have that goal or a hit to change momentum. But I've learned from the experience and I've got to bounce back from it."

He'll get a chance Wednesday night at United Center against the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TSN2). Prior to the season, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville hoped Bickell might approach the 30-goal plateau, but those expectations quickly tempered after a slow start. Bickell, who has six goals and eight points in 31 games, shifted from his top-line spot to his more familiar role at left wing on the third line.

After returning from a 14-game absence because of a knee sprain, Bickell has finished with a minus-1 rating in five of his past six games, and has scored one goal and two points in nine games.

"I've been struggling of late," he said. "[Quenneville] knows I have more and I know I have more. The confidence level is right there. For me, if I'm not confident, he's not confident putting me on the ice. So, I've got to work extra on the ice in practice and such to get better and get my game where it was."

Quenneville said it starts with doing smaller things and hoping they lead to goals.

"Sometimes when things aren't going your way, you've got to find a way to do something," he said. "With [Bickell], he can bump and he can bang and he can go to the net. He's got a nice shot, as well. So, just go up and down your wing and get a little bit more active."

The Rangers did not hold a morning skate Wednesday and had just a handful of players taking shots on goalie Cam Talbot. Henrik Lundqvist is scheduled to get the start in net for New York, which is looking to rebound from a 4-3 shootout loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday at Madison Square Garden.

Former Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo, who was traded to New York this past weekend by the Los Angeles Kings, was one of the Rangers players on the ice Wednesday. He doesn't know whether he'll be in the lineup against the team he hoisted the Cup with last season, but hopes to find himself a more regular role than he had with the Kings.

"It's different, but there's only a few select guys in the League who really have security, so guys like [me] tend to move around more often than not," Carcillo said. "I think L.A. was fun while it lasted, but towards the end there I wasn't playing for whatever reason, and they've got a lot of young guys who do the same job I do and obviously they have more invested in them. I was moveable and this team, as they expressed to me, they need a little bit more grit and more energy, which is what I can do for them."

Here are the projected lineups:


Chris Kreider - Derek Stepan - Rick Nash

Carl Hagelin - Brad Richards - Ryan Callahan

Benoit Pouliot - Derick Brassard - Mats Zuccarello

Brian Boyle - Dominic Moore - Daniel Carcillo

Ryan McDonagh - Dan Girardi

Marc Staal - Anton Stralman

John Moore - Michael Del Zotto

Henrik Lundqvist

Cam Talbot

Scratched: J.T. Miller, Justin Falk

Injured: Derek Dorsett (broken fibula)


Patrick Sharp - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Kris Versteeg - Michal Handzus - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Brandon Saad

Brandon Bollig - Marcus Kruger - Ben Smith

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Nick Leddy - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Antti Raanta

Scratched: Sheldon Brookbank, Michael Kostka

Injured: Nikolai Khabibulin (long-term injured reserve, rotator cuff surgery)

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